Mango Upside Down Cake

Mangoes are everywhere now! Every year, around this time, I have been buying mangoes every week; there are so many varieties of mangoes out there, but we particularly like Champagne mangoes.  My children have been taking sliced mangoes for lunch snacks almost daily and they don’t get bored 🙂   Aside from eating fresh mangoes, I also have been baking them and incorporating them into our dinner entrees.  Today’s recipe comes from “Saved By Cake” by Marian Keyes;  I have been waiting for this cookbook to be published in America, so back in April when it finally came out I purchased it!

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Serves: 6-8

Topping:

3-1/2 Tablespoons butter

1/4 cup light brown sugar

16 ounce can of sliced mango in syrup, drained (reserve 2 Tablespoons of the syrup).  **I used fresh ripe mangoes instead; enough to cover the top (1 large mango or 1-1/2 mangoes – depending on the size and variety you use).

Cake:

7 Tablespoons butter

1/4 cup superfine sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Liberally grease an 8 inch cake pan.  I would discourage using springform pan because the syrup will leak out as the cake bakes.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

For the topping, beat the butter and sugar together, then spread it over the base of the cake pan – it will be a very thin layer so don’t worry.  Then arrange the mango slices on top of the topping (you can cut some slices to fill in the gaps).

Make the cake by creaming the butter and sugar together, adding the eggs and the 2 Tablespoons of reserved syrup (if you are using fresh mangoes don’t worry about this syrup).  Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold through.

Spread the cake batter over the sliced mangoes, covering them, then bake for 35 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack, and invert the cake out onto a serving plate (without burning your fingers!).  Serve warm with a dollop of fresh cream.

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My opinion:  First of all, I was a bit surprised when my children didn’t like this cake; they said it wasn’t bad tasting, but not for them.  Maybe their taste buds haven’t grown into sophisticated palates yet 🙂  On the other hand, my husband and I quite enjoyed this cake.  I was never into pineapple upside down cakes (I think they were too sweet for my taste), but this mango upside down cake had enough sweetness to qualify as a cake and a very adult flavor.  I also think that not using canned mangoes helped the cake not to be overly sweet.  I think next time I may add a little bit of freshly ground cardamom!

Pineapple Coconut Oil Banana Bread

Summer is not my favorite season; yes, you heard me correct, I don’t like Summer, in fact I actually hate it.  I don’t like the intense sun, I don’t like the humidity, I don’t like how the heat and humidity drain my energy; I don’t like it because I have to temporarily halt major cooking and baking (unless I blast my air conditioner) and I don’t like walking around like a zombie waiting for the Fall to come.  Maybe I will feel differently if my house had central air and a pool in the backyard (but with this 100 plus year old house I strike out on both counts).   However, there is one thing I like about Summer…  (yes, just one thing) I like all the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables I find at the Farmer’s Market and at my local organic markets.  They look so vibrant and alive!  Many of these produce can be purchased throughout the year, but nothing compares with the taste of seasonal produce.

Ironically today’s recipe will remind you of a tropical island with pineapple, coconut and banana.  Pineapples you get at the market now are definitely sweeter than the ones you can get in Winter (I don’t even try to buy tropical fruits in the Winter, seriously, I don’t like how they taste).  I found today’s recipe here and so glad I tried it!

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Makes: two 8-by-4-inch loaves

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (canola or vegetable oil, or browned or melted butter may be substituted)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream may be substituted)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, optional but recommended
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (2 large or 3 small ripe bananas)
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced (I used frozen; mango, peaches, nectarines, strawberries or blueberries may be substituted)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans with floured cooking spray; set aside. (I have not tried it but I suspect you could bake as muffins, mini loaves, or in a Bundt pan, adjusting baking times accordingly).
  2. In a large bowl combine the eggs, coconut oil, buttermilk, sugars, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, optional salt, and stir to just incorporate; don’t overmix because the gluten will overdevelop and bread will be tougher. Stir in bananas. Stir in pineapple (if using frozen, just add it frozen, no need to thaw it first. If using fresh or canned, make sure it’s well-drained or it could water-down the batter).
  3. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for about 45 minutes, or until top is golden and set, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (banana bread is gooey and it may not come out perfectly clean). If bread is browning too fast on the top, you may wish to lower your oven temperature to 325F in last 15 minutes of cooking, or tent the pan with foil; although I don’t suspect this will be an issue. Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Bread will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container or large Ziplock at room temperature (I wrap my fully cooled bread in Clingwrap, then I place it in a gallon-sized Ziplock). Second loaf may be frozen for up to 3 months.

My opinion: If at all possible, I highly encourage you to use coconut oil and fresh pineapples (even though substitution options are given) – coconut oil gives mild, rounded and deep note (doesn’t taste like coconut so don’t worry), and fresh pineapples give authentic sweetness and texture to this wonderful bread.  I don’t think any ingredients or flavor compete against each other, they kind of all blend really well together.  I didn’t have to worry about storing the second loaf  because we polished off pretty quickly!!

Berry Topped White Cupcakes

I am going to deviate a bit today and post something that was made yesterday (hopefully my 8 other posts in queue will not revolt!).   For the past few months whenever we have Early Dismissals from school I have been giving baking lessons to my daughters (ages 14 & 12) and one of their friend.  They weren’t quite interested in cooking/baking even a year ago, but now that they are showing active interests I grabbed onto the opportunity.  When I was their age I used to hover around the kitchen to see what my mom was cooking & baking, but she would always shoo me away because she didn’t want to be bothered teaching me (understandably so since she was a single mom who worked 2 jobs).  I kind of resented that and took it upon myself to learn how to cook through experimenting and making lots of mistakes.  I also want my kids to experiment in the kitchen, however, I wanted to make sure I at least teach them the basics.

Anyway, today’s post is something like a “guest post” – because my 14 year old daughter and her friend took some time to bake these delicious cupcakes!  The recipe is from Taste of Home.

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Makes: 22 cupcakes

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk

Frosting:

  • 4 ounces  cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Assorted berries
  • Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In another bowl, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
  •    Beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into batter; fold in remaining whites.
  •    With a spoon, gently fill foil- or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  •    For icing, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice. Frost cupcakes. Top with berries.

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My opinion:  These are really delicious! The cupcake itself is like Angel Cake (but a bit more dense and moist); we really liked the frosting too! Since it combines cream cheese and butter it tastes and feels lighter plus a hint of lemon juice is refreshing.  More than the cupcakes, it gave me greater pleasure to see the girls feeling more comfortable and confident as they tackled new challenges each time and seeing smiles on their faces!  Job well done girls!!

P.S.  The serving plate I used was designed and made by my friend and her husband!  They run a nice tableware store Antshop in Yokohama, Japan.

Blueberry Boy Bait

I’m seeing more blueberries in markets now (which makes me very happy!).  As much as I love cold weather, I truly appreciate different varieties of fruits and vegetables Spring/Summer offer to enhance our palate and diet 🙂  Today’s recipe comes from America’s Best Lost Recipes cookbook which I bought few years ago.  This is basically blueberry coffee crumb cake, but the origin starts from 1954 where a 15 year old girl won the Pillsbury Grand National Baking Contest with this recipe.  The cake was  apparently named “for the effect it had on teenage boys – one bite and they were hooked”.

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Serves 12:

Cake :

  • 2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not defrost first as it tends to muddle in the batter)

Topping :

  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
  • For the cake : Whisk two cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  • For the topping : Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter.
  • Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)

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My opinion:  I do have to say this is a pretty darn good coffee cake.  It’s not overly sweet, and it’s moist and fluffy at the same time.  I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but I don’t feel guilty eating this, but I’m sure I’ve already paid the price for my delusion…  This is a simply cake and as long as you have blueberries you can whip it up (it tastes good when it’s still warm, but tastes even better the day after!).

Banana Split Cheesecake

Oi! I am finally posting my husband’s birthday cake from mid-February!  I’m kind of excited that I can finally move forward after this and post more up to date stuff 🙂  I saw the recipe for this Banana Split Cheesecake and knew I had to make this for my husband’s birthday.  Well, maybe it was a convenient excuse for me to try this recipe, but I think it was a win-win for all of us.  Before you go on reading the recipe, I need to warn you of few things :  1. This is an ultra rich cheesecake! Even if you try to fool yourself you cannot eat a huge slice, your body begs you to stop.  2.  I kind of under baked mine slightly and the top also cracked, but it turned out fine in the end.  You’ll see what I mean below.  3.  This really tastes like a huge banana split!!  4.  Even though the recipe says it’ll serve 10-12, it can easily serve 15 even if you slice them on a thinner side.

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Serves 10-12:

8 oz. vanilla wafers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
7 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups banana purée
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
Table salt
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 oz. chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
5 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. light corn syrup
Toasted chopped nuts, for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the vanilla wafer crumbs and 3 Tbs. granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan (to press, use plastic wrap or a flat-bottom measuring cup). Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, banana purée, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.

Add the vanilla and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.

Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month (see make-ahead tip, below).

In a small bowl, melt the 3 oz. chopped chocolate and the butter. Add the corn syrup and whisk until smooth. Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate. Pour the ganache on the cheesecake and spread evenly.

Garnish with chopped nuts and whipped cream and serve immediately. To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.

**You can make ahead : To freeze, put the unmolded, cooled cake on a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, until the top is cold and firm; then wrap it in two layers of plastic and one layer of foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

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I used Trader Joe’s vanilla wafers (I love the taste of these vanilla wafers!).

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This stand mixer is one thing I’ll take if my house catches on fire…

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Ready to go inside the oven; so far so good.

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Came out of the oven and as it cooled cracked on the top – grrrrr.  Well, Food Network has this to say about the crack on top of cheesecakes.  I simply filled mine with mashed bananas 🙂

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Because I was putting this ganache over the cheesecake I’m glad I had extra bananas to mash up and fill the crack.

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I cut a larger sized slice for picture sake, but even half this size would be sufficient!

My opinion:  Loved the crust, loved the filling and loved the ganache!! Once again, as I previously said this is a very-very rich cheesecake.  If you love bananas and banana split you will LOVE this cheesecake!  I probably will not make this often (for an obvious reason), but a great dessert for a special event.

Strawberry Marshmallows

I’m not a huge marshmallow fan, however, I  have always wanted to make my own marshmallows.  My children love marshmallows, especially in their hot chocolate, but because marshmallows are not in my immediate food radar I haven’t bought any or thought much about them.  My youngest tween daughter mentioned she wanted to make some homemade marshmallows so I searched online and went back to my trusted source Saveur;  the only change I made in this recipe is omit the red food coloring (because I seriously don’t care for it).

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Canola oil, for greasing
1½ cups sugar
Âľ cup light corn syrup
ÂĽ cup honey
3 tbsp. unflavored powdered gelatin, softened in ½ cup cold water
6 oz. dried strawberries, minced
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. cornstarch
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Grease an 8″ x 8″ baking pan, line bottom and sides with parchment paper, and grease paper. Grease a rubber spatula; set aside. **I actually used 9″x13″ and it was still plentiful!

2. Combine sugar, syrup, honey, and ½ cup water in a 2–qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer; cook, without stirring, until syrup reaches 250° on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; let cool to 220°.

3. Meanwhile, bring ½ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Place bowl of gelatin over boiling water; whisk until gelatin becomes liquid. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk; add food coloring. Add cooled sugar syrup to gelatin; whisk on high speed until mixture holds stiff peaks, 5–6 minutes. In a small bowl, toss together strawberries and 1 tbsp. cornstarch; add to marshmallow mixture; mix to incorporate. Pour mixture into prepared pan; smooth top with oiled spatula; let cool until set, 5–6 hours.

4. Combine remaining cornstarch and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl and transfer to a strainer; dust work surface with mixture. Slide a knife around edge of pan to release marshmallows; remove from pan. Dust cornstarch mixture over top. Using a slicing knife dusted with cornstarch mixture, cut marshmallows into forty 1½” squares. Toss marshmallows with remaining cornstarch mixture.

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I bought my dried strawberries from Trader Joe’s.

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This process takes a bit long, but candy thermometer comes in handy (it’s not expensive so I recommend you buy one if you want to make marshmallows or any other candy based desserts).

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Gelatin will melt fairly quickly once placed on top of hot water.

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It really looks pretty unimpressive when you start.

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After a while of whisking it gradually starts resembling a very thick frosted egg white mixture.

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After it was chilled.

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Dusting cubed marshmallows with cornstarch & powdered sugar mixture.

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My opinion:  Oh gosh, these marshmallows are so much better than the store bought ones!  I actually added more dried strawberries than indicated, but the taste wasn’t overwhelming, and had enough real strawberry tastes (versus the artificial strawberry flavors).  With this recipe as a base you can make so many other variations – for the future we have plans to make green tea marshmallows, orange marshmallows, and chocolate marshmallows!  It’s a bit time consuming, but I can assure you it is all worth it!

Nutella Brownie Bites

It’s been a bit crazy around here lately… I haven’t had the energy nor the time to try out new recipes or even do some Christmas baking.  My mind thrives on having some creative stimulation, thus I used to paint when I was younger and now cooking and baking.  In the midst of this crazy busyness I still wanted to bake something really easy and simple (mostly for my children), so when I saw Nutella Brownie Bites recipe I almost jumped for joy!!

People, are you ready, you basically need 3 ingredients, yup,  you read it right, THREE!!  However, since I like complications, I added 1 more ingredient and made it into 4 ingredients!!  Ok, I like to shout “let them eat brownies!!”

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Makes 12 cupcake sized or 24 mini cupcake sized bites:

  • 1 cup nutella
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 Tb all purpose flour (or ½ cup plus 2 Tb)
  • ÂĽ tsp salt (optional)
  • ÂĽ cup chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a regular (not a mini) 12 cup muffin tin or 24 mini cup muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Mix together eggs and Nutella in a medium bowl until smooth. Add in flour and mix until just combined. Evenly spread into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle each with a few chocolate chips, if desired.
  3. Bake 12 minutes for regular cupcake or 7-8 minutes for mini cupcakes.

Note: Microwaving the Nutella slightly will make it easier for mixing.

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My opinion:  Super easy and just the right amount of sweetness.  I guess you can add some sugar, but I highly discourage it.  I may have over-baked mine, but still came out moist and delicious!  I think I will try this recipe using the Biscoff Cookie Spread next time, I have a feeling my family will love that too!

Apple Dumplings

Up until Thanksgiving we have a Farmer’s Market 2x/week at a nearby park.  Different vendors and farmers from Lancaster County, PA and elsewhere come bringing fresh seasonal produce and goodies.  Half of the vendors are Amish farmers (they are more of the modern group where they use electricity and drive cars).  I’m always impressed by their dedication driving 4 hours roundtrip driving mostly from the Lancaster area to Philadelphia!

  Aside from the seasonal produce my favorite has to be the Amish Apple Dumplings!!  You know that they didn’t skimp on the lard in the dough because when you bite into the dough it melts in your mouth.  As delectable as these dumplings are, they are also pricey and not too good for your waist line…  I’ve been craving for these dumplings so I decided to make them.  I found this recipe and decided to try it. 

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  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon  baking powder
  • 3/4 cup  shortening (I used organic shortening)
  • 1/2 cup plus a little more  milk
  • 6 baking apples (I used Honey Crisps)
  • extra sugar, cinnamon and some butter

  • Combine 1st 4 ingredients for the syrup-mix, bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Turn it down to medium heat and cook 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

  • Cut shortening into flour (I usually chill the shortening so that it’s easy to handle) and baking powder; add 1/2 cup of milk all at once, stir until flour is moistened.  If the dough is still dry add a little more milk until the dough is not sticky.

  • On floured surface roll the dough into squares (I divided the dough into 3 parts and rolled it).

  • Core & peel 6 apples; if you don’t have an apple corer just cut the apples into halves, core them and peel the skin.

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  • Place an apple (if you cut the apples into halves just put them back together for this process) on top of the dough squares. Sprinkle generously with additional sugar and cinnamon. Dot with butter.

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  • Moisten edges of pastry.

  • Bring corners to center and pinch edges together.

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I tried this shape first
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Then decided I like this shape better

  • Place 1 inch apart in ungreased 9 x 13 pan.

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  • Pour syrup over dumplings.

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  • Bake 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

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  • To serve, scoop some of the syrup and drizzle over warm apple dumpling, pour some milk over the dumpling (to follow in the tradition of the Pennsylvania Dutch), and/or with a scoop of ice-cream!

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My opinion: Delicious!! Yum!! My family was raving about this as they were eating! This version is less sweet and has crispier crust than the Farmer’s Market kind, but I think it tastes equally delicious and I bet it’s a bit healthier (just a bit…).   Of course, this will take longer compared to using the ready made pie crust, but I think the effort is well rewarded! 

Blackberry Fool

The markets are filled with fresh picked berries lately.  They taste so sweet and I keep on wishing the berry seasons are longer…  We’ve been getting lots of strawberries so I’ve been packing some for my children’s lunches; blackberries are always a huge treat!  we love eating them fresh or trying to incorporate them into baking.  Today’s recipe comes from Fine Cooking and I have been waiting to try this.  I doubled the recipe with the intention of serving this for tomorrow’s dessert also. 

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Serves 4:

1-1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1 chipotle chile (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce), stemmed
3 Tbs. light brown sugar
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Set a medium-mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon to push 1 cup of the blackberries and the chipotle through the sieve, smearing the berries and chile back and forth across the mesh until only seeds and pulp remain. Scrape any purée from the bottom of the sieve. Stir the brown sugar and lime juice into the purée.
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(I doubled the recipe with the intention of serving this for tomorrow’s dessert also.)
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In a chilled medium metal bowl, combine the cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla and beat with an electric hand mixer on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Pour the blackberry mixture over the cream. Use a butter knife to gently stir the mixture so that thin streaks of dark purple run through the cream.
Spoon the mixture into 4 glasses or small dessert bowls and top with the remaining blackberries.

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My opinion:
I was a bit hesitant when I read the recipe at first.  Chipotle chile??  Hey, but you never know until you taste things first, so this seemed easy enough to try.  The verdict:  Super rich and super delicious!!  Serve in small portion!!  The sweet flavor of blackberries and brown sugar and subtle smoky/spicy flavor from the chipotle adobo are infused so very nicely.   Aside from the sieve part, this is simple and takes little time.  A great Summer time dessert!! 

Ice-Cream Cone Cupcakes

I am in a very complaining mood this morning.  Mornings weren’t serene even as a working single person.  Mornings are even crazier married with children.   One of my daughter had to take some treats for her class party today;  in the past I’ve made different breads, cakes and cookies.  Stupid me wanted to make something different and I caused myself unnecessary headaches this morning. 

I’ve made Ice-Cream Cone Cupcakes in the past, but not for school.  That meant make the actual cupcakes the day before and wake up early to make the frosting and decorate.  Since the party isn’t until late morning I had to make sure that the frostings were fresh (thus I couldn’t make this beforehand).   I usually don’t use store bought frostings and I don’t like buttercream frostings, but for this occasion I had to put my aversion aside and use butter in the frosting.  I also wanted the frosting to be fluffy, so once again I used something I never would use… Marshmallow Fuff. 

You need to understand, there are some things I don’t use:  cake mixes, packaged frostings, cream soup in cans, highly processed foods in cans or packages, artificial stuffs, artificial coloring dye, etc, etc.   Yes, you can call me any type of names you want, but the thing is I don’t mind others using these, I personally don’t like using them.  So today, I felt like I compromised on my standards for the good of the young people in my daughter’s class, but I will go on!    In the past when I made this, I simply whipped some cream and piped it on top of the cupcakes – really delicious!!  You can even drizzle some chocolate syrup or add melted chocolate into the whipped cream – yum!!

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Before I go into the actual recipes, let me show you how I prepped for baking.  It’s a bit tricky baking these cuties – in the past I used muffin pans, but was always afraid the cones will tip over.  So this is how I amended the problem:

Take two disposable rectangular aluminum pans (9×13” or larger) and invert it.  Measure the diameter of the ice-cream cone base.  Slit or cut out large enough for the cone base to fit. 
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Makes 2-1/2 dozen ice-cream cone cupcakes:

Cake:  Use any cupcake recipes you like, but my recipe came from the Food Network (which I changed quite a bit). 

1-3/4 cups cake flour
1-1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (don’t use skim milk)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine all the dry ingredients together and sift them well.  Add in cubed butter, mixing until just coated with flour. 

Add eggs 1 at a time until combined.  Slowly add milk and vanilla to batter until completely mixed (scraping down the bowl as you mix). 

Scoop the batter into the ice-cream cones filling about 2/3 full.  Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.  Let the cakes cool completely.  Note:  I put my cone holder pan on a baking sheet (for sturdiness sake), it’s much easier to take it out from your oven too.

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Marshmallow Buttercream Filling:

I found this recipe here

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
3 cups of powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoons milk, if needed
Beat butter in the bowl of electric mixer until creamy. Add in fluff and beat for 2-3 minutes, then add in vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Once all the sugar has been added, beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. If mixture if too runny, add a bit more sugar. If it’s too thick, add a bit of milk one teaspoon at a time.

Put the frosting in a piping bag, or a one gallon plastic storage bag (just snip off the edge).
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Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate.
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All done!! I’m going to get myself a cup of coffee!!